Alone With You: The "Romance Adventure" With A Twist

If you’re looking for a unique twist on an old-school sci-fi adventure, check this out.

It’s called Alone With You and as detailed over at the PlayStation Blog, it’ll be playable at the GDC Expo for the first time ever.

Attendees will be able to play one mission and yes, the story involves a romance and…well, dating. As the last remaining member of a doomed terraforming colony (the planet you’re standing on will crumble and implode in less than a month), you must take advantage of your last moments and try to escape. Only one pod is left and it’s not working, and the only people who can fix it are dead. You’ve still got the colony’s AI, though.

The AI’s name is AF4B/3B – rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? – and she’ll help you explore your forbidding environment. She’s not the love interest, though… This has been dubbed a “romance adventure” but it’s hardly a dating sim; it’s about “the curious threads you discover when love happens at the most inopportune times.” You will interact with your fallen colonists via simulation and you will also make critical decisions throughout the course of the gameplay.

Lastly, the developers make it clear that the game is “open to all players, regardless of gender or orientation.” Important to know in this day and age.

Related Game(s): Alone With You

Tags: alone with you, alone with you ps4, alone with you vita

2/28/2015 11:33:57 AM Ben Dutka

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Bloodborne Boss Darkbeast Will Put A Crimp In Your Day

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GT6 Update Brings Back B-Spec Mode, Mid-Field Raceway

Time to dust off Gran Turismo 6.

Even though a year has passed since the game launched in December 2013, developer Polyphony Digital still has a few more tricks up its sleeve.

Here comes patch 1.16, which is pretty big: It brings B-Spec mode to the game for the first time; it was available in previous installments but mysteriously left out of GT6. This lets you basically manage an AI driver as he spins around the track, making long events a lot easier. It’s the only way I did those 24-hour endurance events back in the day, I can tell you that.

They’ve also tossed in the Mini Clubman Vision GT (pictured here), which you can either purchase or earn by finishing a lap in the new, limited-time seasonal events. Lastly, they’ve brought back the Mid-Field Raceway track, one of my all-time favorites! There are a few other additions as well; check the game’s official website for the full details.

Now, let’s hear about Gran Turismo 7 for PlayStation 4!

Related Game(s): Gran Turismo 6

Tags: gran turismo 6, gt6, gran turismo 6 update, gt6 update

2/27/2015 9:16:46 PM Ben Dutka

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Square Enix Tries To Lure Back Previous FFXIV Players

So, let’s say you checked out Final Fantasy XIV once before but you weren’t too impressed. Or, maybe you got sidetracked with other games.

If you’ve always wanted to give the MMORPG another shot, this offer is for you:

To celebrate over 4 million registered users, Square Enix is giving former players the chance to play again for free, but only for a limited time. You can play between February 27 and March 9 at 1 a.m. PDT entirely free of charge; you just need to have previously purchased and registered the game in question. Your account also needs to be inactive during this promotion; feel free to check your status at Square Enix’s website.

This offer is good on all platforms (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC), so you should definitely check it out if you haven’t in some time. If you’re totally new, there’s a 14-day free trial, if you’re so inclined.

Related Game(s): Final Fantasy XIV

Tags: final fantasy xiv, ffxiv, square enix

2/27/2015 9:06:00 PM John Shepard

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Sony Japan Loses List Of PS4 20th Anniversary Winners

Oh, somebody lost their job over this.

Between December and January, those who purchased any PlayStation product (PS4, PS3, Vita, or PlayStation TV) in Japan were automatically eligible to win one of those slick 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4 machines.

Sony selected 123 winners and these 123 lucky souls were to receive the very rare unit, of which only 12,300 were made (the original PlayStation launched on 12/3 in Japan). …and then they went and lost the list of 123 winners. Yeah, oops.

Now, Sony has to restart the competition and the company has offered its apologies, as translated by Kotaku:

“Our deepest apologies for the trouble we have caused to those who entered the previous campaign.”

Sony has asked that if you still have the calendar code, resubmit it for the competition. Those who no longer have the code can still resubmit, but they have to deliver the product’s serial number, so Sony can cross-reference that with what was purchased during the competition period.

What a mess. Well, at least Sony says they didn’t lose any crucial customer information.

Tags: ps4 20th anniversary, 20th anniversary playstation 4, 20th anniversary ps4 contest

2/27/2015 9:27:06 PM Ben Dutka

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Dead or Alive 5: Last Round Review: Best Bouncy Award

When Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate launched back in 2013, I thought we were done with this particular installment. However, I was wrong. Team Ninja has opted to bring the solid fighter to new consoles and as such, they’ve once again updated and renamed the game: Now it’s Dead or Alive 5: Last Round and despite being a pretty clear cash grab – at least in part – it remains a wildly entertaining, well-rounded fighter with plenty of new content. Unfortunately, the new content is underwhelming and long-time followers might be better off waiting for the next real installment.

The graphics really are better than ever, though, and they do cement the best possible version yet of DoA5. Fantastic animations, coupled with wonderfully smooth curves and detailing, make Last Round a visual feast for the eyes (and the libido, in some cases). This really is the best-looking DoA iteration yet; even the lighting appears to be better than it was in Ultimate. Super fluid, highly sexualized visuals have always been a staple of this series; the developers simply bring that winning formula to a new level. Even the new outfits are exceedingly well designed and I’ve always appreciated the graphical ebb and flow that never skips a beat.

The sound is equally impressive, thanks to a good soundtrack and those patented effects. I dunno; I just always thought the combat effects in DoA were a little different than those in any other fighter. There’s something about this cartoon-y yet effective audio presentation that always made me smile. Sure, the voices are borderline painful but this is a fighting game…the voices are always amateur-ville. It actually wouldn’t feel like DoA if we had professional actors in there. Anyway, from a technical standpoint, everything about Last Round excels. There’s nothing too new here, despite that aforementioned visual touch-up, but we didn’t have much to complain about in the first place, right?

Yeah, this is DoA. There’s no doubt about that. It’s just not the advanced, next-level DoA we expect to see with the official sixth installment. The physics and mechanics are about the same, the characters and arenas are familiar, and the stories are – as always – just plain silly. We do get plenty of costumes, however, which is a bonus for those who like to play dress-up. You can change the hairstyles of your favorite characters, for instance, and you can even toss on a few accessories. The cool part is that these costumes actually get dirty during a match; another example of the game’s visual prowess. If the arena is especially filthy and the match is lengthy, expect your costume to bear the scars of war.

Now, one could argue about the “bouncy” nature of DoA forever. Seriously, this is a debate that doesn’t really have an end. Those who are offended will always be offended and Team Ninja sticks to their “it’s just fantasy” explanation, which of course is accurate. Let’s not forget that men are abnormally proportioned in such games as well. At any rate, I think it’s important to note that the “bounciness” of the ladies in Last Round is actually quite authentic. Well, it’s authentic if we accept that such women could possibly exist, and they’d actually be able to pull off such moves in high heels. At least their chests aren’t exaggerated; they’re not bouncing off the freakin’ screen, as they’ve been known to do.

It’s clear that more effort was expended in regards to chest physics so yeah, we end up with the most realistic…uh…bouncy-bouncy yet. But in regards to the stuff that actually matters, let’s just say that this updated version doesn’t offer a plethora of goodly extras. We get a few bonuses, of course, but nothing too extravagant. Basically, this is Ultimate with some extras, including new fighters Raidou and Honoka. And actually, if you really want to get technical, Honoka is the only true new character, as Raidou was the final boss in the very first Dead or Alive (released back in 1996). There are 34 characters with which to experiment but too many fighters seem like clones of others.

While they didn’t do much of anything to the core gameplay, the designers did iron out a few kinks. Otherwise, it’s still the same ol’ rock-paper-scissors mechanic that focuses heavily on counters, throws, defensive holds, and the like. I’ve always loved this style of fighting because it forces you to pay close attention to your opponent; it’s not all about reaction but much of your strategy revolves around your foe’s tactics. You can still pitch hapless opponents into environmental obstructions, which results in some pretty zany situations. A lot of it is completely over-the-top (no human survives any of it) but that’s sorta the point. Like I said above, DoA is about the fantasy.

Because of those flashy environmental impacts and due to the touching up of the effects, this is the most attractive, dynamic DoA yet. I mentioned this in talking about the graphics above but it’s important to note that visuals have a direct impact on the gameplay. If we implemented such environmental catastrophes back in the ’96 title, would it have had the same visceral impact? Of course not. And the more you play, the more you want to take advantage of each arena, striving for new methods of inflicting ridiculous amounts of pain. It also adds to the variety of the combat itself, which is something most fighting fans will enjoy.

Now, one could argue that this is a cash grab because Team Ninja keeps using the same ol’ assets and issuing a fresh coat of paint. Really, it probably should’ve ended with Ultimate; the fans would’ve waited for Dead or Alive 6, specifically made for new consoles. You just don’t get a lot of extra content for your $40 this time around. A couple new characters and a bunch of new cosmetic and customization options don’t really amount to much, especially if you’ve already played Ultimate. On the other hand, if you’ve never played DoA5 at all, there’s no reason at all for you to ignore this latest update. It is an update; it just isn’t packed with new stuff, and it doesn’t boast a significant upgrade.

Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is indeed the definitive version of the original DoA5. That much is obvious. It looks better than ever – absolutely the prettiest DoA to date – and the gameplay is just as solid and challenging. You get a lot of costumes and 34 fighters are more than enough, even though there are some similarities between the characters. The minor touch-ups are appreciated but again, they’re not major. The bottom line is simple: If you already own the Ultimate edition, don’t bother with Last Round unless you’re a confirmed DoA aficionado and want that up-tick in graphics, along with a bunch of new costumes. If you’ve never had the pleasure of DoA5, this is the one to get.

The Good: Beautiful, refined visuals; the best-looking DoA thus far. Great visual and audio effects. Environmental bust-ups are great fun and a joy to behold. Same fantastic fighting core, with a huge roster. Better combat and “bouncy” physics.

The Bad: Not a lot of extra content. Not enough diversity among the characters. Feels too much like a cash grab.

The Ugly: “Oh, it’s way too pretty to be ‘ugly.’”

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Editorial: Do Critics Favor Harder Games?

Everyone’s talking about the flaws in the video game review community after The Order: 1886 lit a fire under everyone’s ass.

But there’s another question to consider: Some harped on Ready at Dawn’s game for being too easy (which I don’t agree with at all) and it got me thinking: Do critics tend to favor harder games? Do the more challenging products get more praise because they’re designed for the “hardcore” or “elite” players?

One could almost make the argument that this is so. The Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls games always score exceedingly well and while they are indeed great games, one wonders if they’d score so well if the difficulty wasn’t quite so high. More often than not, I see critics docking a game for being too easy, while they actually appear to be giving a game a higher score for being extra tough. It’s almost as if high difficulty can’t possibly be a negative thing in the eyes of reviewers today, while they’re just as quick to point out the easy games as being…well, inferior.

The upcoming Bloodborne is supposed to be brutally hard. It should also be a very high-quality product. I still wonder what might happen if the game was “dumbed-down” for the sake of accessibility, though; wouldn’t the fans just freak out? And wouldn’t critics basically say it was a mistake? They tend to get all over developers for making games too easy for the purpose of wider appeal, but they don’t blink an eye when a team makes a game that’s crazy tough. Not every core gamer on earth likes that, but I have a feeling critics really do.

Just wondering what other people thought about this.

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Battlefield: Hardline Premium Offers Early Access To DLC

If you’re all about Battlefield: Hardline, you’re definitely considering Premium.

The Premium membership gives players all upcoming downloadable content at a discount and thanks to some leaked promotional material, we’ve got some more details.

It says subscribers “also gain two weeks early access to the expansion packs, getting the latest and greatest and being the hottest on the streets of Battlefield Hardline.” Furthermore, we get 12 more Battlepacks along with exclusive items and in-game apparel. There are even more unannounced perks scheduled for those willing to ante up for Premium, so it might be worth the cost of admission.

Battlefield: Hardline is slated to arrive on March 17 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

Related Game(s): Battlefield: Hardline

Tags: battlefield hardline, battlefield hardline premium, hardline premium details

2/27/2015 11:14:30 AM Ben Dutka

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Four New MKX Characters Revealed

Another week, another newly revealed playable character for Mortal Kombat X.

Actually, in this case, we get four new fighters, thanks to a freshly released trailer.

The story trailer offers some trivial (let’s face it, they are trivial) details concerning the plot: The game takes place 25 years after the events of the 2011 reboot, and players will have to fight against Mileena and her Outworld rebel army. And yes, Mileena is one of those new playable characters. The others are Jacqueline Briggs (daughter of Jax), Takashi Takeda (son of Kenshi), and Kung Jin (descendant of Kung Lao).

The more characters with which to experiment, the better. And just try to imagine all the insane Brutalities we’ll see!

Related Game(s): Mortal Kombat X

Tags: mortal kombat x, mkx, mortal kombat x trailer, mortal kombat x characters

2/27/2015 11:27:02 AM Ben Dutka

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More Modern-Day Sequences In Next Assassin’s Creed?

They’re hardly the most memorable segments of any Assassin’s Creed but maybe they’ll be better in the future.

As franchise followers know, each story actually revolves around Desmond, who lives in a modern-day time period. We do occasionally control Desmond but 99 percent of the time, we’re controlling one of his ancestors (Ezio, Connor, etc.). And actually, in last year’s Unity, there was no Desmond and no modern-day sections.

Ubisoft may return to the idea, though. Lead writer Darby McDevitt said during a recent Twitch livestream that he wants to “smartly reuse things so we can have a more robust modern day.” He was referring to Monteriggioni from Assassin’s Creed II, one of his favorite modern-day moments. And originally, they did plan to have modern-day content in Unity but these segments didn’t make the final cut due to budget and timing concerns:

“The thing with Unity was that it was a completely fresh game on a completely fresh generation [of consoles]. So creating any kind of modern day is a pretty huge ask. To create a city, for instance, or even part of a city, would require six months of work by many, many artists, designers, modellers. And then you’d need gameplay systems that didn’t feel like you were just fencing.”

As for an AC set in the future, that remains an unlikely proposition. McDevitt says “there are just too many mechanics we would have to develop to make it believable.” And besides, as Ubisoft has said before, history is like a giant playground for this series.

Unity did have alternate reality segments, like occupied Paris during World War II, but no current sequences. And that was okay by me.

Tags: assassins creed, assassins creed sequel, ubisoft

2/27/2015 11:37:45 AM Ben Dutka

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